Q:

What does a tsunami sound like?

A:

Quick Answer

Witnesses to tsunamis report they make a roaring sound as they approach, similar to the sound of a freight train or a jet airplane. Tsunamis are triggered by underwater earthquakes, which are reported to make similar sounds. A hydrophone captured the sound of the 9.0 earthquake that struck Japan in 2011 and caused a tsunami across the Pacific Ocean, which was like the sound of a rocket taking off.

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Full Answer

The roaring sound made by an approaching tsunami is only one of several warning signs. Any earthquake in a tsunami zone should cause concern, as the speed of tsunami waves is high. Water often recedes from the shore as a tsunami approaches, exposing the floor of the ocean. When this occurs, the tsunami itself is likely to arrive within five minutes, so observers are advised not to go down to the ocean to see what is happening but to seek high ground immediately.

Other abnormal ocean activity and the approach of a wall of water are also cause for concern. An approaching tsunami often looks like a river or avalanche moving at high speed across the surface of the ocean. Sometimes it takes the form of a rapidly rising tide. Tsunamis typically arrive as a series of waves, so the departure of one wave doesn't mean the danger has passed.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How can a tsunami be prevented?

    A:

    No known way to prevent a tsunami from occurring exists. Individuals can take steps to be prepared for a tsunami, and warning systems can help get people out of harm's way if an impending tsunami is predicted.

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  • Q:

    What are the aftereffects of a tsunami?

    A:

    According to the Centers for Disease Control, the aftereffects for humans of a tsunami include lack of clean drinking water, loss of shelter and injury from remaining debris. Economically, areas affected by tsunamis struggle to amass funding to repair damaged structures. Those who survive tsunamis often suffer mentally and emotionally.

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  • Q:

    What are the effects of a tsunami?

    A:

    The effects of a tsunami include loss of human and animal life, devastating property damage, severe flooding and disease. There are also environmental effects such as contamination of soil and water, a permanent change to the landscape, solid waste and disaster debris, and hazardous materials and toxic substances.

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  • Q:

    Can we prevent a tsunami?

    A:

    A tsunami is a natural geohazard that is almost impossible to prevent from forming or occurring. Though it cannot be prevented, damage from a tsunami can be reduced through sophisticated early warning systems, effective response and community preparedness. The United Nations Environment Program also suggests that tsunamis cause less damage in areas where there are natural tsunami barriers, such as coastal vegetation, coral reefs and mangroves.

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